Birmingham has few attractions

Sarah’s just headed back up to Birmingham. She came back late Saturday night, which meant we had all of Sunday to be normal. In celebration, we embarked on a DIY project. We want shelves in the bedroom, so we went on down to B&Q. I think they really are rubbish there. If they just trained the staff, and perhaps employed a few more of them, the shopping experience would be far better. Of course, they also sell some rubbish and charge too much, but that would be excusable if the staff knew the answers to simple questions. We ended up buying some aluminium right angles strips to hold the shelves up, some pre-cut shelves, and the assorted tools and bits needed to finish the job. On our return home it transpired the new hacksaw had an essential bit missing, so Sarah used her very hardcore electric jig saw instead. And the shelves aren’t quite the right size, so Sarah cut them too. My job, while she’s away, is to stain the shelves a nice colour. Should be fun.

Earlier in the week, Sarah returned to London at about 2 in the morning in order to have her hair cut the following day. I went back up to Birmingham with her and had a day there. I was hoping we’d get to the Sea Life Centre, which has got otters! But we missed it. I did, however, buy a very cool new fleece. It’s a bluish, purple and is wind proof and water resistant. It was expensive, but I think it was worth it. Otherwise, Birmingham appears to be fairly uninspiring. My sister tells me that Cadbury World is there, but it’s on the outskirts, so not easy to visit. And that’s it. No other highlights.

My back’s been hurting this week. I think the pain is caused by too long spent at the computer, possibly exacerbated by the gym. So, the dilemma: will going to the gym make it better or make it worse? I think I might try it and see.

On Wednesday, BBC2 broadcast the first episode of Tipping the Velvet. This is a three part drama serial based on Sarah Waters‘ novel of the same name. It’s about lesbians in 19th Century Britain, and has been a favourite in this household for the, frankly, soft porn element of it. It’s also an entertaining read apart from that, but do you remember those books that used to go around at school with sex in them? My generation had Forever by Judy Bloom. A few pages were very well thumbed, and no-one seemed to actually own a copy. Well, Tipping the Velvet has that feel about it. The first episode of the TV adaptation was pretty good – true to the characters and the feel of the book, I thought. The sex scenes are fun, too.

I also finally got the newsletter out for the Bermondsey Street Tenants and Residents Association. I’m now secretary of this association and have decided that many of its problems are to do with poor communication. So, my plan is to produce a monthly newsletter and try to encourage attendance and involvement. I produced the thing using Microsoft Publisher which is, quite honestly, not terribly good. I used to use Quark a bit, and have also had experience with Ventura, and they are in an utterly different league to Publisher. It’s like saying Notepad and Word are both Word Processors but failing to see the difference in quality. Anyway, delivering these newsletters around the estate was quite an eye opener. The range of lifestyles here is amazing – utterly different attitudes, incomes and lifestyles living within metres of each other. It’s great.

In terms of job hunting, it appears I didn’t get the interview I was hoping for with Southwark Council. That’s disappointing, and there aren’t many other jobs going of any interest to me. I decided I wanted to think more robustly about Communications and what it is that really interests me. To that aim, I’ve re-designed my website, and plan to add communications oriented writing. It’s been useful already, as it’s incredibly hard to define communication in any tangible way. I shall persevere, though. I’m also trying to build the site with stylesheets far more than I’ve used before.

And finally, plans for this coming week. Well, I need to do those shelves and there’s a job or two to apply for. I want to write my first article for the website, which should help me think some more about where I’m trying to take this so called career. And I need to risk the gym. So, I’ll let you know how I do.